As Drake entered the classroom at North Side Community Center he noticed Bill James sitting at a table near the back. Bill was wearing an unbuttoned, faded denim jacket that displayed a picture of The Ramones on the black tee shirt that he was wearing. As usual Bill’s long, salt and pepper hair and beard looked unkempt. Bill had brought a long a Bic pen and a Hilroy spiral notebook. He also brought along a manilla file folder that contained samples of his writing.
Bill looked as surprised as Drake did when they made eye contact.
“Hey Drake, good to see you buddy. Let’s get a coffee before class starts.” Bill grabbed his beautifully carved walking stick and walked towards the coffee table. A large percolator was turned on and there was a jar of Coffee Mate and a box of Sugar Twin as well as regular sugar available on the table.
The coffee was free for those taking the writing class.
When they returned to the back table Drake sat next to Bill.
“I didn’t know that you liked to write fiction, Bill,” said Drake.
“I didn’t know that you did, either. Well, who’d a thunk it?” said Bill giving Drake a slap on the back. “I actually started writing a few tears ago. I was at home recovering from an injury at work when I first took up the past time.”
“The injury must have been serious.”
“ It was. I was unable to work for about eight months.”
“How did the accident happen?” asked Drake.
“Oh, it wasn’t an accident. One of my coworkers ran me over with a forklift on purpose.”
“What! Why would he do that?”
“He didn’t like my politics, I guess,” answered Bill.
As Drake and Bill were finishing up their conversation, Ron Evans, the Director of the community center walked in the classroom.
“Could I have your attention for a few minutes, people?” asked Ron. “I have an important announcement to make. Unfortunately, I received a phone call from your teacher’s wife, Anita Trent. She told me that her husband, Robert, fell very ill this afternoon and was rushed to the hospital. It appears that your teacher has had a stroke. I ask all of you, who are so inclined, to please pray for a quick recovery for Robert. Anita also informed that Robert would not be able to teach his writing course as he might need several months to fully recuperate from his stroke. Now that’s the bad news. The good news for you people is that I was able to find another qualified facilitator for the writing course. She’s on her way to class right now. I phoned her about an hour ago and she said that she might be about ten minutes late but that she was able to teach the course to you people.”
Drake stood up. “On behalf of the group I would like to say that Robert will be in our thoughts and prayers. He’s a fine man and a good teacher. What’s the new instructor’s name?”
“Lisa Harrison, the Executive Director of the House of Hope,” answered Ron.